FanPost

MSUFR Defense against ND

[Bumped, obviously.  Brace yourself.  --LVS.]

I think we agreed to split up the special teams.  Punt coverage, Kick Coverage, PAT/FG defense will be covered with the defense.  Punt return, kick return and FG/PAT attempts will be with the offense.  We are also going to add scoring this week to individual players.  I expect the scoring system to get better defined as we go along so I am not sure if a big positive or big negative means a lot this week.

I have included video for a few of the plays.  Whenever a play has video it is noted.

TimeQuarterDownLOSOffense SetDefense Set and PlayResult
14:08 1 4th and 5 ND 50 Punt Formation Punt Coverage Aaron Bates punt for 34 yards, fair catch by Golden Tate at the NDame 16
One of the blockers is blown back into the kicker. The coverage is good forcing a fair catch.
14:01 1 1st and 10 ND 16 5 WR 4-3 Man Jimmy Clausen pass complete to Robby Parris for 6 yards to the NDame 22
This again? 5WR set and the defense is in a 4-3 man coverage. Everyone on screen covers someone, so this looks like Cover 2 Man. So the safeties are in a deep zone and everyone else is in man coverage. The d-line did get pressure. 89 Neely and 58 Anderson are both getting pressure on the QB when the ball is released. I don't think anyone did anything great or wrong on this play.
13:54 1 2nd and 4 ND 22 5WR 4-3 MICHIGAN ST penalty 5 yard Offside on Trevor Anderson
58 Anderson -1. It looks like he reacted to his teammate rather than the ball.
13:44 1 1st and 10 ND 27 5WR 4-3 Jimmy Clausen pass complete to Kyle Rudolph for 52 yards to the MchSt 21 for a 1ST down
MSU shows blitz but backs out, the d-line collapses the pocket but blondie steps up and throws in the flat to the TE. The coverage is either a man or zone, and either way 43 Gordon would have to cover Rudolph, after the snap he goes deep with one of the WRs. 39 Robinson misses a tackle. Coverage Gordon -1, Robinson -1. Good Job NBC! Nothing like showing a highlight 20 minutes later. 53 Jones and 34 Denson both blew their assignments on this play. 53 Jones should have covered the TE. 34 Denson should have covered the man 53 Joens was covering. The defense was Cover 2 Man, so the 3 LBs have man on someone and so do the two DBs. The safeties are playing a deep zone. 53 Jones, 34 Denson, 39 Robinson -1 Play covered in film at end.
13:13 1 1st and 10 MSU 21 5WR 4-3 Blitz Jimmy Clausen pass complete to Kyle Rudolph for 8 yards to the MchSt 13
Its a blitz! That can only mean that the play is away from the blitz. WR screen. 43 Gordon gets taken down by a block from a WR. 9 Ware avoids most of the WR block and makes the tackle. Gordon -1
12:54 1 2nd and 2 MSU 13 Wildcat 4-3 Armando Allen Jr rush for 13 yards for a TOUCHDOWN
53 Greg Jones read the play and was in a position to make the tackle, then he fell down. 43 Gordon is blocked by the pulling RG. The C seals the DT (70 Worthy?) then releases to block 34 Denson. The safeties, 39 Robinson and 11 Hyde, take bad angles and can not make a play. The only problem I really have with this play is 9 Ware. He is lined up next to the QB and does not take a free shot at him under the guise of bump and run coverage. It's literally a free shot on the QB. WTF? 11 Hyde and 39 Robinson -1. 53 Jones' cleats get a -1.
7:11 1 N/A MSU 30 Kick Return Kick Coverage Brett Swenson kickoff for 63 yards returned by Theo Riddick for 38 yards to the NDame 45
37 Weaver takes a poor angle and falls down (anyone see a theme here?). Weaver should have maintaned the coverage to the outside keeping the returner going up the middle, but he attacks in allowing the returner to bounce outside for a big return. Number of players to fall down so far, 3.
7:02 1 1st and 10 ND 45 5WR 4-3, 2LB Blitz Jimmy Clausen pass complete to Golden Tate for 6 yards to the MchSt 49
The QB sees the blitz and checks out of it to a WR screen. The QB throws into the flat to the man who is covered by the safety, 11 Hyde. Since Hyde is 10 yards off the LOS it is an easy gain for 6 yards. The only thing that would have changed this play is if the safeties had tighter coverage.
6:38 1 2nd and 4 MSU 49 5WR 4-3 Cover 2 Man Jimmy Clausen rush for 9 yards to the MchSt 40 for a 1ST down
70 Wilson and 99 Worthy stunt. The RG cut blocks 70 Wilson. The LT cut blocks 89 Neely. 58 Anderson gets by the RT, but is behind the QB and can not make a play. The d-line has some pressure but can not get to the QB.
6:22 1 1st and 10 MSU 40 5WR 4-3 Cover 2 Zone Jimmy Clausen pass complete to Michael Floyd for 16 yards to the MchSt 24 for a 1ST down
There are 5 WRs on the field, and Michigan State is hell bent on playing 3 LBs. Every now and then I could see that, but EVERY PLAY? Is MSU the roster so bad at DB so that we can't do anything to disguise the coverage? It is a zone, so the QB throws to the soft spot on a cover 2 zone for a 1st down. 70 Wilson and 89 Neely stunt. 99 Worthy is held on the play.
5:44 1 1st and 10 MSU 24 5WR 4-3, LB, CB Blitz Jimmy Clausen pass complete to Kyle Rudolph for 2 yards to the MchSt 22
Is there a law that says whenever MSU blitzes the play must go away from the blitz? I think there is. ND obeyed the law. WR screen away from the blitz. 43 Gordon nice open field tackle and he avoided the WR block to make it! Gordon +1
5:12 1 2nd and 8 MSU 22 5WR 4-3 Cover 2 Man Jimmy Clausen pass complete to Michael Floyd for 22 yards for a TOUCHDOWN
Super awesome! 43 Gordon is beat deep for the TD. Yes football fans, the MSU Defensive coordinator thought, "Hey, I think 43 Gordon can cover super stud WR Michael Floyd in man coverage." WHO THE HELL COVERS MICHAEL FLOYD WITH A LB? I can not see a reason to give Gordon a -1 since he was tasked to do something he is physically incapable of doing. Play covered in film at end.
4:59 1 PAT MSU 2 FG FG Nick Tausch extra point MISSED.
The kicker starting going before the ball was snapped and didn't have time to reset before the snap. So he kicked it wide right. MSU did not do anything on this play to force the miss.
1:47 1 1st and 10 ND 34 5WR 4-3 Jimmy Clausen pass complete to Kyle Rudolph for 12 yards to the NDame 46 for a 1ST down
This might have been nickel coverage, but I can not make out the players number. He looks like a LB though. 43 Gordon is blocked by a WR. 9 Ware is blocked by a WR, but that is at least reasonable. 43 Gordon -1.
1:18 1 1st and 10 ND 46 5WR 4-3 Jimmy Clausen pass complete to Golden Tate for 4 yards to the 50 yard line
Two WR screens to the same side on consecutive plays. 29 Chris L. Rucker gets off the block of the WR and 10 Norman reads the play to make the tackle. 29 L. Rucker +1.
0:43 1 2nd and 6 ND 50 5WR 4-3 Cover 2 Jimmy Clausen rush for 2 yards to the MchSt 48
54 Rolf gets pressure on the QB forcing him up in the pocket. 96 Pickelman gets off his block to make the tackle. The secondary kept everyone covered, so kudos to them. 54 Rolf, 96 Pickelmen +1. MSU Secondary +1.
15:00 2 3rd and 4 MSU 48 3WR, Offset I 4-3 Armando Allen Jr rush for 3 yards to the MchSt 45
54 Rolf and 70 Wilson stunt. 70 Wilson does not get enough push and Rolf has to go around him, this extra time prevents Rolf from getting a TFL. 10 Norman avoids the block of the pulling G then gets buried by the FB. The RT and LG block 43 Gordon and 53 Jones. 29 L. Rucker makes the tackle. 10 Norman -1.
14:21 2 4th and 1 MSU 45 2 TE, I 4-3, LB Blitz. Armando Allen Jr rush for 2 yards to the MchSt 43 for a 1ST down
What is that law again? Play goes away from the blitz. 54 Rolf gets a shoelace of the runner in the backfield. The HB dives to get the first down. This is a FB dive fake, pitch to the HB. There really was not much MSU could do with the defense called.
13:59 2 1st and 10 MSU 43 Shotgun, 3WR, HB SS of QB 4-3 Golden Tate rush for a loss of 1 yard to the MchSt 44
29 Chris L. Rucker must be really good friends with the QB. This is a handoff to a WR that looks like he wants to pass the ball. After the handoff, the QB blocks. 29 L. Rucker does not attempt to engage him, run him over, hit him, nothing. He does a little dance and asks for an autograph. It is a free shot on the QB and he passes. Ugh. The D-line does a nice job with following the play down the LOS. 96 Pickelman makes the tackle. 43 Gordon misses a TFL in the backfield. I am not sure if this could have been a pass play because a WR makes a block on 11 Hyde downfield. 9 Ware had coverage downfield preventing any pass attempt. I do not believe you can block downfield on a pass play. 96 Pickelman +1, 9 Ware +1, 43 Gordon -1.
13:18 2 2nd and 11 MSU 44 5WR 4-3 NOTRE DAME penalty 5 yard False Start on Sam Young accepted.
After what FUBA said about Big Ten refs I am surprised they did not flag the crap out of ND.
12:58 2 2nd and 16 ND 50 Shotgun, 4WR, HB R of QB 3-3-5 Jimmy Clausen pass complete to Armando Allen Jr for 2 yards to the MchSt 48, NOTRE DAME penalty 10 yard Holding on Trevor Robinson accepted.
MSU is lined up in a 3-3-5, but blitzes 53 Jones. It is a screen so the blitz is, of course, poorly time. Penalty negates the play so I won't discuss it.
12:31 2 2nd and 25 ND 42 2WR, Offset I 4-3, 2 LB Blitz Jimmy Clausen sacked by Kevin Pickelman and Eric Gordon for a loss of 10 yards to the NDame 32
I have no idea why 96 Pickelman is credited for the sack. 43 Gordon gets the sack. 54 Rolf had pressure as well which is why the QB went down to avoid a big hit. Wow, a blitz that worked! Technically the sack should go to 54 Rolf. He literally puts one hand on the QB. He is the first to touch the QB after he is down. Rolf +1, Gordon +1.
11:59 2 3rd and 35 ND 32 Shotgun, 3WR, 2 HB 3-3-5 Dayne Crist pass complete to Robert Hughes for a loss of 1 yard to the NDame 31
MSU goes into a prevent defense, which I do not like with the backup QB in, but is more than reasonable on 3rd and 35. 57 Strayhorn reads the screen and hustles out to make the tackle with 34 Denson who beat a block. Strayhorn +1, Denson +1.
10:56 2 4th and 36 ND 31 Punt Punt Return Eric Maust punt for 49 yards, downed at the MchSt 20
MSU almost gets to the punter. 37 Ross Weaver gets pushed back into 82 Keshawn Martin preventing him from making the fair catch at the 30, but ND picks up the ball there to down it at the 20. This play costs MSU 10 yards of field position. 37 Weaver -1, I would give Martin a -1 but I can not tell if he called the blockers off or not.
9:30 2 N/A MSU 30 Kick Return Kick Off Brett Swenson on-side kick recovered by MICHIGAN ST at the MchSt 38.
Dantonio not satisfied with the trick play for a TD goes for the onside kick. A bold move in a close game. Swenson does a great job on the kick. Swenson +1, Dantonio +1
7:58 2 1st and 10 ND 45 2WR, 2TE R, HB 4-3, LB CB Blitz Jimmy Clausen pass incomplete to Mike Ragone
The ND QB is back in the game after hurting his ankle and has a limp. I would blitz like mad because the QB has limited mobility and with the injury will lose a little on his passes. MSU sends two blitzers, but the blitz takes too long to get there. There is enough pressure to get the QB to throw wide.
7:53 2 2nd and 10 ND 45 4WR 4-3 Armando Allen Jr rush for 12 yards to the MchSt 43 for a 1ST down
ND runs a draw. The C gets a piece of 53 Jones, but Jones avoids enough of it to attempt the tackle. He misses. I think this is a Cover 4 Zone defense, so the outside LBs have the pass coverage in the flats, the DBs and Safeties cover deep. Since the LBs are outside there is room to run up the middle. 11 Hyde comes in to make the tackle. This was the right play to call against this defense. 11 Hyde +1
7:28 2 1st and 10 MSU 43 2WR, Double TE, HB 4-3 Armando Allen Jr rush for no gain to the MchSt 43
89 Neely splits the Double TE block and is in the backfield to make the tackle. 89 Neely +1
6:57 2 2nd and 10 MSU 43 Offset I 4-3, LB Blitz Armando Allen Jr rush for 8 yards to the MchSt 35
MSU once again blitzes into a play that works perfectly against it. 53 Jones blitzes, but is picked up by the RG. ND is trap blocking on this play so the O-line blocks to the left and the LG pulls to seal to the right to create the hole. If not for the trap blocking Jones would have been into the backfield to make a play. The HB actually jumps over a pile of defenders and 58 Anderson gets of his block to make the tackle. 58 Anderson +1.
6:19 2 3rd and 2 MSU 35 Shotgun, 4WR, Trips L HB R of QB Armando Allen Jr rush for 8 yards to the MchSt 27 for a 1ST down
MSU stacks the d-line to the right, so of course ND runs left. 43 Gordon is blocked by a TE which springs the HB for the first down. LBs should be able to get off or avoid blocks of a TE. 43 Gordon -1
5:50 2 1st and 10 MSU 27 3WR, 1TE, 1 HB 4-3, 2 LB Blitz Jimmy Clausen pass complete to Robby Parris for 5 yards to the MchSt 22
The LB blitz is to the outside and the play is to the outside so MSU finally called a blitz in the right direction. The QB throws quickly into the flat so the blitz can not get to him. The safety, 39 Robinson, has coverage of the WR on this play because of the blitz. 39 Robinson makes the tackle. This works because of how far back the safeties are playing at the start of the play. I think in coverage like this the safeties should be creeping up towards the LOS.
5:35 2 2nd and 5 MSU 22 3WR, 1TE, 1HB 4-3, LB Blitz Jonas Gray rush for 15 yards to the MchSt 7 for a 1ST down
LB 36 Jon Misch blitzes on the outside and with the law about blitzing, the play goes the other way. 54 Rolf throws the LT to the ground. I really like 54 Rolf. 43 Gordon is buried on the play by the block of a WR, but on the replay we see why. The WR held him. 53 Jones hustles downfield to get in on the tackle with 9 Ware. 9 Ware might have been able to make the tackle sooner, but he was in man coverage paying attention to the WR. 39 Robinson gets a stiff arm to the face causing him to miss the tackle. 39 Robinson -1
4:53 2 1st and Goal MSU 7 2WR, 2TE, 1 HB 4-3 Jimmy Clausen pass incomplete to Michael Floyd
The safeties are on the goal line, this is the closest I have seen them to the LOS today. 53 Jones shows blitz but backs out. The play is a typical ND lob to the sideline. It is a one step drop. 9 Ware has good coverage and gets a hand on the ball to prevent the catch/TD. 9 Ware +1.
4:48 2 2nd and Goal MSU 7 Wildcat 4-3, LB Blitz Armando Allen Jr rush for 6 yards to the MchSt 1
53 Jones blitzes, but it is another trap block by ND so the o-line is blocking into the blitz. 43 Gordon does not read the play fast enough and gets blocked by a WR, he gets off the block quickly, but it prevents him from attacking the hole and the HB gets a gain on the play. 43 Gordon -1.
4:05 2 3rd and Goal MSU 1 Goal Line Goal Line, LB Blitz Jimmy Clausen rush for a loss of 2 yards, fumbled, forced by Team, recovered by NDame Armando Allen Jr at the MchSt 5
The QB fumbles the snap, 48 Drew Stevens is the blitzing LB and is threw the line avoiding a block and could have stopped the play in the backfield. MSU gets a lot of players through and I doubt this play would have worked without the fumble. The blitz was directly into the play for a change. 48 Stevens +1
3:24 2 4th and Goal MSU 5 FG FG Nick Tausch 22 yard field goal GOOD
MSU gets some line push, but did not send anyone to block the FG. I think they were setup to stop any fake attempt. Good call this close to the endzone.
1:01 2 N/A MSU 30 Kick Return Kick Coverage Brett Swenson kickoff for 64 yards returned by Theo Riddick for 18 yards to the NDame 24
Wow. 40 Roderick Jenrette races down the field and makes a great tackle on the KR. Jenrette +1
0:55 2 1st and 10 ND 24 Shotgun, 4WR, Trips L, HB R of QB 3-3-5 Jimmy Clausen pass complete to Duval Kamara for 5 yards to the NDame 29
MSU takes a timeout before this play to give the replay booth more time to see if the last play was a fumble. This is a good coaching move by Dantonio. MSU shows blitz but backs out and is in zone defense. The secondary has 3 safeties covering deep. The QB throws the ball underneath the zone coverage for a short gain. There is not much pressure on the QB. The NT is blocked by the LG/C/RG, so I don't blaim him. Both DEs are about to beat the Ts when they fall down. That brings the total up to 5 for MSU players that have fallen down. 9 Ware makes a nice read and tackle to prevent and YAC. 9 Ware +1. Safeties +1 (no idea who is on the field, so Robinson and Hyde +1)
0:29 2 2nd and 5 ND 29 Shotgun, 4WR, Tripls R, HB L of QB 3-3-5 Jimmy Clausen rush for 6 yards to the NDame 35 for a 1ST down
ND lets the clock run on this play for reasons I can't comprehend. If you are letting the clock run, why even bother to try for a score. Just go to the half. 57 Strayhorn splits the C/LG block and dives at the QB just missing a tackle. 55 Adam Decker is lined up at DE and gets no pressure, which you would expect with him being a LB. The pass coverage was good enough to force the QB to scramble. Secondary +1.
0:17 2 1st and 10 ND 35 Shotgun, 4WR, Trips R, HB L of QB 3-3-5 Armando Allen Jr rush for 11 yards to the NDame 46 for a 1ST down
With 3 on the d-line and the LBs and secondary playing a soft zone ND runs a draw. As the LBs fall back the RG releases to get a block on 53 Jones, who avoids the block and makes the tackle. 43 Gordon gets blocked by the TE and driven back 5 yards. If he had avoided the block he could have made the tackle and prevented a 1st down which would have kept the clock running. 53 Jones +1, 43 Gordon -1
0:10 2 1st and 10 ND 46 Shotgun, 4WR, Trips Bunch L, HB R of QB 3-3-5 Dayne Crist pass intercepted by Trenton Robinson at the MSU 8, returned for no gain to the MSU 8
The d-line gets no pressure. Everyone goes deep as this si the hail mary to end the half. 39 Robinson gets the INT. 39 Robinson +1 END OF HALF
15:00 3 N/A MSU 30 Kick Return Kick Coverage Brett Swenson kickoff for 58 yards returned by Barry Gallup Jr for 18 yards to the NDame 30
The coverage was good as the KR did not go very far, the kick was bad as he fielded it on the 12 yard line. Swenson -1
14:55 3 1st and 10 ND 30 Run and Shoot 4-3 Jimmy Clausen pass complete to Golden Tate for 4 yards to the NDame 34
This is the first play of the second half and the point where you can tell if your defensive coordinator is any good. The half time adjustments by the defense are the keys to the second half. If you remember the Run and Shoot offense, this is the set ND is in. QB under center, two WRs on each side with the outside WRs being on the LOS. It is a WR screen to the left, one step drop to negate any rush. 11 Hyde overruns and misses the tackle, but 36 Misch is there to make the tackle. 11 Hyde -1, 36 Misch +1
14:17 3 2nd and 6 Widlcat 4-3 Armando Allen Jr rush for 5 yards to the NDame 39
43 Gordon runs past the hole and is out of the play, I am guessing he had outside contain. 53 Jones avoids one o-line block but gets hit by the second. 36 Misch reads the play and attacks making the tackle. The d-line really does not get much of a push on this play.
13:45 3 3rd and 1 ND 39 2WR, 2TE, 1 HB 4-3, LB Blitz Jimmy Clausen rush for 2 yards to the NDame 41 for a 1ST down.
43 Gordon either readsd the play exceptionally well or is blitzing. I assume he is blitzing. ND just runs a QB sneak for the 1st down. The push from the o-line is enough to get the 1st. 70 Worthy is blown back on the play. 70 Worhty -1
13:12 3 1st and 10 ND 41 3WR, 1TE, 1HB 4-3 Jimmy Clausen pass complete to Golden Tate for 54 yards to the MchSt 5 for a 1ST down
MSU is in a cover 3 zone. 11 Hyde moves up to the LOS after the snap since no one is in the flat on his side of the field, I think he is watching for the HB to release. 39 Robinson has coverage for the deep middle of the field. He is off the WR and then cuts across to try to knock the ball away, misses the ball and the tackle. The d-line gets no pressure. ND kept the TE in to block, which he did on 58 Anderson. 58 Anderson -1, 39 Robinson -1.
12:38 3 1st and Goal MSU 5 2WR, 2TE, 1 HB 4-3 LB, CB Blitz Armando Allen Jr rush for no gain to the MchSt 5
The safeties for MSU are on the goal line, so MSU basically has 9 in the box. ND runs the ball, you guessed it, away from the blitz. 36 Jon Misch quickly reads the play and attacks the hole making a nice tackle for no gain. 36 Misch +1
12:01 3 2nd and Goal MSU 5 Wildcat 4-3 LB, CB Blitz Armando Allen Jr pass complete to Robby Parris for 5 yards for a TOUCHDOWN
It looks like MSU calls a LB, CB blitz and of course the play is going the other way. I am not sure because 43 Gordon gets to the LOS and backs off, so I can not tell if he is actually blitzing. This is the first time ND ran the Wildcat and did not have the HB run the ball. This is actually a blown coverage on MSU. With at least one player blitzing it should be man, but 9 Ware is in zone coverage. 39 Robinson attacked the run, but did chip the WR who caught the TD pass. My only guess is that either Robinson or 53 Jones should have had coverage for that part of the field. I think this was a blown coverage on MSU, although I have no idea on who. I am guessing Robinson -1
9:58 3 4th and 9 MSU 21 Punt Return Punt Coverage Aaron Bates punt for 49 yards, returned by Golden Tate for 23 yards to the MchSt 47
34 Denson, can't see the number to good here, so it could be someone else, is so far off he can not even attempt to make a tackle allowing the PR to make a nice return. 34 Denson -1
9:45 3 1st and 10 MSU 47 Ace 4-3 Jimmy Clausen pass incomplete to Robby Parris
MSU just went through a long drive and gave up a TD then the offense went 3 and out. The defense should be tired so ND has a significant advantage here. That was a really bad time for a 3 and out for MSU. This looks like MSU is in a Cover 2 Man. This is the typical ND play. 3 step drop and chuck it deep to the sideline. The coverage was good and the pass sailed out of bounds. 9 Ware +1
9:41 3 2nd and 10 3WR, 1TE, 1HB 4-3, 2 LB Blitz Armando Allen Jr rush for 7 yards to the MchSt 40
96 Pickelman is held by the RG creating a huge hole for the HB to run through. 53 Jones blitzes, but runs directly into the RT. Jones read this play correctly, but the HB saw him and cut it back to go up the middle. 10 Norman blitzes, but the C pushes him deep preventing him from tackling the HB. The safeties come up to hit the HB and 43 Gordon arrives to make the tackle. 43 Gordon does a nice job of reading the play, avoiding a WR block and making the tackle. 43 Gordon +1
9:00 3 3rd and 3 MSU 40 Shotgun, 4WR, Trips R, HB L of QB 4-3 Armando Allen Jr rush for 5 yards to the MchSt 35 for a 1ST down
ND plows straight ahead for a first down. 89 Neely is unblocked on this play but misses the tackle. 43 Gordon is blocked by a WR. The C pushes the 70 Wilson out of the way and then releases downfield and tackles 53 Jones. It would be holding, but the tackle is after the play is over. 70 Wilson gets off the block of the RG and makes the tackle. Wilson +1, 89 Neely -1, 43 Gordon -1
8:40 3 1st and 10 MSU 35 3WR, 1TE, 1HB 4-3 Zone Armando Allen Jr rush for 1 yard to the MchSt 34
This is another trap play where the LG pulls and the line blocks down. The d-line holds the LOS stopping any push from the o-line. 43 Gordon attacks the play and gets buried by the pulling LG. 53 Jones flows laterally with the HB and makes the tackle. A safety, can't see the number 39 Robinson?, reads the play and attacks putting a hit on the HB and ensuring he does not fall forward for yards. Jones +1, 39 Robinson +1, 70 Wilson +1, 96 Pickelman +1
8:08 3 2nd and 9 MSU 34 R+S 4-3 Zone Jonas Gray rush for 4 yards to the MchSt 30
96 Pickelman gets a big push into the backfield but does not see the play so the HB goes right by him. 70 Wilson is doubled by the LG/C, then the C releases to block 53 Jones. 70 Wilson quickly gets off his block and is in on the tackle. 43 Gordon reads the play and attacks to be in on the tackle. 70 Wilson +1, 43 Gordon +1, 96 Pickelman -1
7:18 3 3rd and 5 MSU 30 Shotgun 4WR, Trips Bunch L, HB R of QB 4-3 Jimmy Clausen pass complete to Golden Tate for 8 yards to the MchSt 22 for a 1ST down
MSU runs a zone blitz with 58 Anderson dropping into coverage. The blitz puts pressure on the QB who throws quickly into the flat. 34 Denson and 9 Ware miss tackles allowing YAC for a first down. 34 Denson -1, 9 Ware -1
6:50 3 1st and 10 MSU 22 3WR, 1TE, 1HB 4-3 Jonas Gray rush for 3 yards to the MchSt 19
MSU is in man coverage. 58 Anderson is unblocked but the pulling RG is nice enought to tackle him. I can't see how that is not holding. 58 Anderson misses the tackle. The RT and TE release and block 53 Jones and 43 Gordon. 34 Denson sees the run and is in on the tackle with 40 Jenrette. Denson +1, Jenrette +1, Jones -1
6:09 3 2nd and 7 MSU 19 2WR L, Offset I 4-3 LB Blitz NOTRE DAME penalty 10 yard Holding on Paul Duncan accepted, no play
5:51 3 2nd and 17 MSU 29 2WR, 2TE, 1HB 4-3 Cover 4 Jimmy Clausen pass incomplete to Golden Tate
I think this is a cover 4. If so, 29 L. Rucker does not go deep soon enough and the ball is thrown just out of his reach. The WR drops it. 58 Anderson stops his pass rush after the TE releases by him, he was dropping into coverage in the flat. A pass rush might have been better, but I can not tell. 99 Worthy pushes the RG 5 yards into the backfield. There really is no pressure on the QB here. 29 L. Rucker -1
5:43 3 3rd and 17 MSU 29 Shotgun 3WR, HB SS 3-4 2LB CB Blitz Jimmy Clausen pass incomplete to Armando Allen Jr
43 Gordon thinks this is going to be a screen and moves into the flat to make a play. It isn't a screen so he is guarding empty space instead of rushing the passer. There really isn't much pressure on the QB but he throws the ball to avoid the blitz and is inaccurate.
5:40 3 4th and 17 MSU 29 FG FG Nick Tausch 46 yard field goal GOOD
MSU only sends 9 to block the FG so there is no real attempt at a block. The defense has been on the field for almost the entire 3rd quarter.
1:24 3 N/A MSU 30 Kick Return Kick Coverage Brett Swenson kickoff for 68 yards returned by Theo Riddick for 25 yards to the NDame 27, NOTRE DAME penalty 10 yard Holding on Barry Gallup Jr accepted.
Holding, so no comment.
1:16 3 1st and 10 ND 17 Shotgun 5WR 4-3 Jimmy Clausen pass complete to Duval Kamara for 10 yards to the NDame 27 for a 1ST down
Cover 2 Man Defense with LB guarding WRs again. The D-line is collapsing the pocket around the QB when the ball is released. So there is some pressure. 34 Denson can not stay with the WR so his open. 9 Ware misses the tackle allowing the 1st down. 9 Ware -1
0:45 3 1st and 10 ND 27 Shotgun 5WR Jimmy Clausen pass incomplete to Kyle Rudolph
MSU has 53 Jones line up as a DE. I think they are moving players around to rest as many guys as possible after the two long drives to start the quarter. A little extra rest here then the TO for the end of the quarter will get some fresh legs to start the 4th. 38 Kendell Davis-Clark has man coverage on the TE and avoids the block of a WR on the screen play. 57 Strayhorn and 58 Anderson are lined up at the DT spots. 55 Decker is unblocked and puts a hit on the QB. MSU did have a lot of guys rotated on this play. 38 KDC +1
0:42 3 2nd and 10 ND 27 3WR, 1TE, 1HB 4-3, 2 LB Blitz Jimmy Clausen pass complete to Kyle Rudolph for 8 yards to the NDame 35
MSU sends two LBs, 43 Gordon and 34 Denson, both are picked up. 58 Anderson gets pressure anda hit on the QB, so the QB throws it into the flat. It is man coverage and someone blew it on the TE. 53 Jones chips the TE but then does not drop into coverage with him or rush the passer. I think he was supposed to cover the TE. 10 Norman makes a nice open field tackle. 10 Norman +1, 53 Jones -1
15:00 4 3rd and 2 ND 35 Ace 4-3, 2 LB Blitz Armando Allen Jr rush for 4 yards to the NDame 39 for a 1ST down
MSU sends two LBs up the middle, so the HB bounces to the outside to avoid the blitz and get the 1st down. 91 Hoover should have been in a position to make the tackle but he was controled by the block of the TE. 40 Jenrette comes up from the safety spot to get a shoe string tackle and talk some smack after the play. 29 L. Rucker puts a nice hit on the HB to stop his forward momentum. 91 Hoover -1
14:30 4 1st and 10 ND 39 Offset I 4-3 Over Armando Allen Jr rush for 5 yards to the NDame 44
43 Gordon attempts to run over the TE and fails getting sealed inside even though he started outside of the TE. It appears he was blitzing. 29 L. Rucker reads the play and avoids the WR block but gets dragged on his tackle for the short gain. 53 Jones does a good job of avoiding a block by the FB, but it is enough of a block to keep him out of the play. 43 Gordon -1
13:57 4 2nd and 5 ND 44 Offset I, 2WR L 4-3 2 LB Blitz Armando Allen Jr rush for 7 yards to the MchSt 49 for a 1ST down
MSU blitzes the two OLBs. The HB sees the blitz and no hole so he bounces outside. 53 Jones is slow to see the HB cut outside. 58 Anderson can not get off the RT fast enough for a TFL, but does get in on the tackle. 53 Jones and 40 Jenrette both get juked by the HB. 43 Gordon gets back out to be in on the tackle with 58 Anderson. 53 Jones -1, 40 Jenrette -1
13:47 4 1st and 10 MSU 49 3WR, 1TE, 1HB 4-3 Jonas Gray rush for 2 yards to the MchSt 47
MSU is in press coverage on the outside WRs. So I think this is a cover 2 man defense. 34 Denson is blocked by the WR he had man coverage on. 9 Ware comes up to make hte tackle. 54 Rolf drove the LT down the LOS to keep driving the HB outside. 9 Ware +1, 34 Denson -1
13:06 4 2nd and 8 MSU 47 Offset I 4-3 Zone Jimmy Clausen sacked by Jerel Worthy for a loss of 6 yards to the NDame 47
The play starts with MSU in zone coverage. ND has two WRs on the top to the left and MSU has a DB split to the right. A ND WR goes in motion and MSU sends 2 LBs on a blitz. 99 Worthy was unblocked and sacks the QB. 99 Worthy +1. Play covered in film at end.
12:20 4 3rd and 14 ND 47 Shotgun 4WR, Trips R 3-3-5 Zone Blitz Jimmy Clausen pass incomplete to Golden Tate
This has to be the worst zone blitz I have ever seen. MSU drops two d-lineman into coverage standing next to two LBs in coverage. The blitzing CB is blocked by the HB leaving the QB all day to throw the ball. 29 THE CHRIS L. RUCKER!!!!!! Wow. What awesome coverage by 29 L. Rucker. Stays stride for stride with Golden Tate and knocks the ball away as it arrives. The coverage could not be better. 29 L. Rucker +2. It was that good. Play covered in film at end.
9:33 4 N/A MSU 30 Kick Return Kick Coverage Brett Swenson kickoff for 69 yards returned by Theo Riddick for 25 yards to the NDame 26
MSU kept their lanes and made a nice tackle.
9:27 4 1st and 10 ND 27 Shotgun 4WR, Trips L, HB R of QB 4-3 Armando Allen Jr rush for 3 yards to the NDame 30
The D-line had nice contain and the LBs read the play to make a tackle for a short gain.
9:05 4 2nd and 6 ND 30 MICHIGAN ST penalty 5 yard Offside on Colin Neely accepted
89 Neely -1, nice job trying to blaim the ND player though
8:47 4 2nd and 1 ND 35 Shotgun 4WR, Trips R, HB L of QB 4-3, 2 LB Blitz Jimmy Clausen pass complete to Armando Allen Jr for 5 yards to the NDame 40 for a 1ST down
The QB dumps it to the HB before he gets hit by the blitz. 43 Gordon had coverage of the HB and makes a nice tackle for a short gain.
7:57 4 1st and 10 ND 40 Shotgun 4WR, Trips R, HB L of QB 4-3 Jimmy Clausen pass incomplete
Defense is in Cover 2 Man. D-line gets no pressure on the QB. Who heaves it deep to a WR who cut off his route. 29 L. Rucker drops the INT. So close. Play covered in film at end.
7:48 4 2nd and 10 ND 40 Shotgun 4WR, Trips R, HB L of QB 4-3, 2 LB Blitz Jimmy Clausen pass complete to Kyle Rudolph for 13 yards to the MchSt 47 for a 1ST down
43 Gordon is asleep at the wheel. He is in zone coverage and his man catches the ball and turns upfield. 29 L. Rucker misses the tackle allowing the TE to get the first down. 43 Gordon -1, 29 L. Rucker -1
7:24 4 1st and 10 MSU 47 Shotgun 4WR, Trips R, HB L of QB 4-3 Jimmy Clausen pass complete to Duval Kamara for 8 yards to the MchSt 39
MSU is in a cover 2 man. 34 Denson has coverage on the play and makes the open field tackle. ND is just running quick routes and throwing the ball to WRs that are covered by LBs.
6:40 4 2nd and 2 MSU 39 3WR, 1TE, 1HB 4-3 Armando Allen Jr rush for 4 yards to the MchSt 35 for a 1ST down
ND trap blocks on this play. 43 Gordon reads the play but is blocked by the pulling RG. 96 Pickelman gets off his block to make the tackle. 96 Pickelman +1
6:12 4 1st and 10 MSU 35 R+S 4-3, 2 LB Blitz Armando Allen Jr rush for 2 yards to the MchSt 33
MSU sends 2 LBs, 43 Gordon misses the TFL. 99 Worth spins off his blocker and gives chase down the LOS. 11 Hyde comes up to make the tackle. 11 Hyde +1, 99 Worthy +1, 43 Gordon -1
5:30 4 2nd and 8 MSU 33 Shotgun 4 WR, Trips R, HB L of QB 4-3, LB CB Blitz Jimmy Clausen pass complete to Golden Tate for 33 yards for a TOUCHDOWN
MSU sends 29 L. Rucker who was lined up over the WR leaving 11 Hyde to cover him. The blitz is picked up and the QB heaves it deep. 11 Hyde has decent coverage but it looks like the WR pushes off of him to get seperation to catch the ball. The push causes Hyde to stumble which gives the WR room to catch the ball. I am iffy if it is Offensive Pass Interference, but I can see it being a no call. Play covered in film at end.
4:54 4 4th and 10 MSU 29 Punt Retrun Punt Coverage Aaron Bates punt for 51 yards, returned by Golden Tate for no gain to the NDame 20
34 Denson flies down the field and makes a great open field tackle on the PR. Bates +1, Denson +1
4:48 4 1st and 10 ND 19 Wildcat 4-3 Armando Allen Jr rush for 5 yards to the NDame 24 NOTRE DAME penalty 12 yard Personal Foul on Sam Young accepted
9 Ware has the free shot on the QB he doesn't take. 43 Gordon blitzes, the play goes the other way. 53 Jones gets blocked. 34 Denson gets blocked by a WR. 40 Jenrette comes up to make the tackle. 40 Jenrette +1, 34 Denson -1 MSU takes a timeout
4:41 4 2nd and 17 ND 12 Shotgun 4WR, Trips R, HB L of QB 4-3 Jimmy Clausen pass complete to Golden Tate for 18 yards to the NDame 30 for a 1ST down.
ND keeps 6 in to block but 89 Neely(?) gets pressure on the QB. 29 L. Rucker trips on his own feet, gets up then falls down. I think that is the 6th player to fall today. I think its time to fire the equipment manager. 40 Jenrette misses the tackle. Jenrette -1 Play covered in film at end.
4:01 4 1st and 10 ND 30 Wildcat 4-3 Armando Allen Jr rush for a loss of 5 yards to the NDame 25
Golden Tate makes a nice tackle on Allen in the backfield. Too bad they are on the same team. MSU Timeout.
3:53 4 2nd and 15 ND 25 3WR, 1TE, 1HB 4-3 Armando Allen Jr rush for 9 yards to the NDame 34
43 Gordon does the old drop the mouth piece trick, pick it up and drop it again. 43 Gordon and 53 Jones follow the line to the left while the play goes to the right. ND trap blocks on this play and 43 Gordon is buried by the pulling LG. 53 Jones avoids the block of the LT. 58 Anderson is blocked by the TE. 39 Robinson comes up to help on the tackle. 39 Robinson +1, 58 Anderson -1
3:11 4 3rd and 6 ND 34 Shotgun 4WR, Trips L, HB R of QB 4-3, 2 LB Blitz Jimmy Clausen pass incomplete to John Goodman
MSU blitzes forcing the QB to throw early and is off the mark. 38 Kendell Davis-Clark has nice coverage on the WR. 38 KDC +1

Video Highlights er lowlights?  Oh well.  Video.

Points Totals

Defensive Line

PlayerPositiveNegativeTotal
58 Anderson 1 3 -2
54 Rolf 2 0 2
96 Pickelman 4 1 3
57 Strayhorn 1 0 1
89 Neely 1 2 -1
70 Wilson 3 1 2
91 Hoover 0 1 -1

Linebackers

PlayerPositiveNegativeTotal
53 Jones 2 4 -2
34 Denson 3 5 -2
43 Gordon 4 10 -6
10 Norman 1 1 0
38 Stevens 1 0 1

Secondary

PlayerPositiveNegativeTotal
39 Robinson 6 5 1
11 Hyde 4 2 2
29 L. Rucker 6 2 4
9 Ware 7 2 5
37 Weaver 0 1 -1
40 Jenrette 2 1 1
38 Kendell Davis-Clark 2 0 2

Kickers

PlayerPositiveNegativeTotal
Swenson 1 1 0
Bates 1 0 1

I think the secondary may be a little skewed because of a few plays were I put a generic +1 to the starters.  Even with that, the secondary played very well.  The defensive line was almost invisible all day.  Outside of a few big plays the line was basically controlled by ND.  I think this was a function of the passing game ND employed against MSU.  Which leaves the LBs and their bad numbers.  I really think this was a function of playing 3 LBs irrespecitve of what ND was doing.  The LBs had to be significantly more concerned with the passing game rather than just concentrating on the run and a little coverage. 

96 Pickelman was the best player on the d-line, which is bad because he is a back up and didn't play the majority of the snaps.  34 Denson had ok numbers but some of that had to do with his specials teams play.  53 Jones was the best LB again this week.  I thought he played better than I had scored him so maybe I missed a few of his positives.  43 Gordon had a bad week as it seemed that ND wanted to attack him.

The secondary had deep coverage most of the day and ND did not challenge them very often.  I think ND only went deep half a dozen times and was 3/6 on those plays.  ND seemed to be content to throw underneath the coverage and move down the field.  Obviously 29 L. Rucker gets a lot of credit for his big play, but 9 Ware also had a great game.  I do think MSU has two quality corners.

I really think the let down for the defense this week is really about the scheme that was utilized.  MSU never had less than 3 LBs on the field even when ND was 5 wide.  ND just took advantage of the slower LBs covering WRs and kept moving the ball.  I think ND had only about 100 passing yards attacking the secondary and the rest was against the LBs coverage.  MSU needed to adjust to stop this or at least give ND different looks but they never did.  The DC just kept plugging away with his game plan that eventually yielded late scoring drives again this week.  I think it was a bad scheme and I expect future MSU opponents to attempt to attack MSU in this way.  Fortunately I doubt Wisconsin is one of them.

This is a FanPost, written by a member of the TOC community. It does not represent the official positions of The Only Colors, Inc.--largely because we have no official positions.

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